Email from “Laugh it off Media [[email protected]]“:
Laugh it Off won its last court battle of the year with SABMiller on Friday, when Judge Cleaver dismissed SABMiller’s application for ‘Security for Costs’, and awarded costs for two counsel. SABMiller were demanding security for legal costs incurred thus far – costs that they estimated to be in excess of R350 000.
We are hoping to overturn Judge Cleaver’s Cape High Court ruling earlier this year that our “Black Labour, White Guilt” T-shirt not only infringed SABMiller’s Carling Black Label trademark, but also “bordered on hate speech”. Cleaver’s ruling this time around however, means that we will now most certainly have our appeal heard before the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein sometime next year (probably in May).
Coming up with R350 000 for security would have been an impossibility, and our advocate Peter Hodes argued that SAB were trying to ‘cut us off at the path’. In his judgement Cleaver had this to say:
“Closing the door to the respondent, which is a likely result of the granting of the relief sought by the applicant, would deny the respondent an opportunity to have its dispute with the applicant determined by a court of law simply by virtue of its financial position”
Particularly important for Cleaver was that SAB did not demand security for costs until three months after Laugh it Off was granted leave to appeal, and only brought the court application two months after that, when we had already incurred substantial costs preparing and filing our appeal.
Cleaver closed with an acknowledgement of the merits of our case, and it is these words that we take the most heart from, when motivating ourselves for next year’s Appeal:
“As I indicated in my judgment on the application and also in my judgment granting leave to appeal, the issues between the parties are important and novel ones, which in my view are deserving of a definitive judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal.”
Laugh it Off is now taking a much-needed rest over the festive season, as we prepare next year for our response to Reckitt Benkiser (Mr Min) for our Mr Sin T-shirt (which parodies our good friend in the photo above, George W Bush), as well as our appeal with SABMiller – no to mention whatever other Laugh it Off T-shirts the unscrupulous patent lawyers fail to see the lighter side of.
Our Laugh it Off Annual of South African Youth Culture is available at most book stores (Exclusive Books and CNA’s) around the country – our T-shirts you have to find for yourself. We would tell you, but who knows what patent lawyer scum there are out there masquerading as supporters on our mailing list.
For more info, you can visit www.laughitoff.co.za, or e-mail [email protected]
Finally, a huge ‘thank you’ to all the support we have received over the year from the people on our mailing list. Your well wishes, T-shirt ideas, and pledges of allegiance to never again drink SAB products, has been a source of much strength to us. To you, a final toast of “More Reward at the End of the Day.”
Wishing you all the best for 2004,
Laugh it Off.
Looks like the little man has had his say??….